One version of the big-city dream is to chuck it all, move into real country and work for yourself. For Ralf Coykendall, a onetime oil company promotion man, this aim has become solid reality largely because Coykendall was able to turn a hobby—duck shooting—into a thriving business of manufacturing what many gunners consider to be the finest waterfowl decoys available.
Raised with guns and dogs, and a good man with his hands, Coykendall three years ago set up shop in a large barn in Weston, Conn., installed some wood-working equipment and started to turn out decoys which incorporate the best of ideas and workmanship culled from a lifetime of studying waterfowl and from his own collection of antique decoys whittled by oldtime market hunters. His decoys come in sets of eight: five drakes and three hens in different and characteristic poses. The demand for them by sportsmen all over the country is so clamorous that Coykendall has had to move to a roomier plant. Says he happily: "To be one's own boss; to work with your hands at something you love and to see it a success is the most pleasant feeling imaginable."